2017 Chain Reaction Challenge NSW – Day 3 Blog
27 March 2017 Chain Reaction
CRNSW17 Day 3
In a stage road race there is often a day referred to as the Queen Stage. This is the hardest, most demanding stage of a race and is always in the high mountains.
Today was our Queen Stage.
Is that why the majority of riders were tucked in their rooms by 9pm last night or was it because our ride director informed us that we would be on the bikes from 6.15am? There is nothing good that comes from an alarm clock that starts with a 5!
Another observation is riders are notoriously hard to please. A constant conversation within a peloton is the weather, the state of the roads and the traffic. Today was a rare “goldilocks day,” not too hot and not too cold, complimented by a day full of picture postcard vistas, one for the ages.
The peloton was proudly led out by the day’s competition jersey wearers:
Jon Lesquereux in the Mercedes Black, Stuart Matthews in the Shopping Centre Council of Australia Green, Paul Gratton doing the EY White jersey, Kel Davey was feeling the pressure of the Chifley Polka Dot given the 2,400m of climbing that lay ahead and Klaudia Locker in the Westfield Yellow. Klaudia is a pocket rocket as part of her training she had been rising regularly at 3.30am to ride over 100km before heading to work at UBS and for good measure knocking out another 30 or more km after work. She has also raised over $13,000. Chapeau Klaudia!
The colours led us out, heading North by the Firth of Thames, the water was lapping at our wheels on the left side and steep sub tropical vegetated hills with further evidence of the recent mud slips on our right. Thirty kilometres of serene flats to warm our legs up before we turned east into the Coromandel range, perfect!
Our ride director eased away allowing the Peloton to ride at its own pace over the three peaks of the range, whilst not long (only 3 to 4km) they were steep! The stronger legs surged forward and disappeared from site whilst the Clydesdales tried to find their happy space to work their way up 15 plus percent gradients.
It was easy to distract yourself from legs that were quivering from the effort. This is Hobbit country and it was truly an unexpected journey. A rider was heard to comment this is a combination of the Sound of Music Alps with water views.
With another 100km in the bank, lunch was under bright blue sky’s at the Espy Café on the beach at Whitianga, it doesn’t get much better. It was so good that after the morning’s exertions, many riders were openly questioning the need for another 60km including one more peak.
After a little cajoling and a photo for the sponsors we were under way. Blood returned to the legs and shortly the bunch had a bit of steam built up as it hit the foothills of the final climb. Riders dug into energy reserves and were greeted at the summit by yet another postcard moment.
A weary peloton rolled into Pauanui on the west coast and was greeted by one last pinch up to our accommodation (I think I may have heard some cussing) for the night within the rainforest overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
Riders clambered off their bikes and our support crew moved effortlessly into their post ride routine, recovery drinks, massages, washing lycra as they endeavour to make sure we can all recover for another long day tomorrow.
But for now we will bask in the memories of a “goldilocks day” – a perfect day!
Ride Time: 6hrs 27 minutes